Autumn is well and truly here. The evenings are shorter; there's a chill in the air. And what better way to spend a relaxing weekend with a cosy throw, tea and a fantastic read? Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen will make you laugh until your sides hurt with 'Aisling' and Alex Barclay will keep you guessing with her brilliant psychological thriller. There are lighter reads too, thanks to Cecilia Ahern – in short, something for everyone.
Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling by Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen (Gill Books, approx €9.99, out now)
Aisling is turning 30 and, by all accounts, should be delighted with life, being a “proper grown-up”. In reality, life is nowhere near as glamorous as she thought it would be. Her heart is broken and even though business is booming, it’s tough keeping her café afloat, especially when her best friend Majella is expecting the hen of the century. As B-day approaches, Aisling has to make a tough decision. Will she be able to handle it (again) without being a complete Aisling? As usual, the authors have knocked it out of the park with this one.
I Confess by Alex Barclay (HarperCollins, approx €9.99, out now)
The newest crime thriller from this Irish author is a departure: a standalone novel, her first set entirely on the Beara Peninsula. When a group of childhood friends are reunited for a night at a luxury inn, nothing is quite as it seems. A party meant for fun and frivolity turns dark when they discover a body – and the realisation that the murderer is among them. An unputdownable mystery with a killer twist.
Related: WATCH: Alex Barclay: 'I'm obsessed with twists so there'll always be one at the end'
After the Flood by Kassandra Montag (The Borough Press, approx €12.99, out now)
In this dystopian future, climate change has destroyed the world as we know it. It’s now water-inundated, where people live on boats or in mountaintop community enclaves. At the heart of the story is Myra, fiercely trying to protect her eight-year-old daughter Pearl and rescue her 12-year-old daughter Row from a “breeding ship”, where “raider” crews force captive women to become pregnant. She must go on a journey to save them both. An intriguing debut.
Postscript by Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins, approx €14.99, out now)
In this long-awaited sequel, it’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband Gerry died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life. She has achieved some form of peace and found new love; however, a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly and suddenly she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind. Like its predecessor, it’s a tear-jerker.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Vintage, approx €20, out now)
Over three decades after The Handmaid's Tale simultaneously beguiled and disturbed readers, Margaret Atwood returns to Gilead with The Testaments. History does not repeat itself, she warns, but sometimes it rhymes. And with that, 15 years after the events of the first novel, we get three eye-witness accounts documenting what Gilead was really like, via academics who discuss the testimonies years later. Thrilling and engrossing, Atwood fans will love it.
Related: IMAGE review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Renia’s Diary: A Young Girl’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust by Renia Spiegel (Ebury Press, approx €16.99, out now)
Renia’s Diary is the rediscovered journal of a teenage girl who came of age during the horrors of World War II. Jewish and living in Poland, she documents her life from ages 14 to 18, when her life turned upside-down. She wrote first because “she wanted a friend” and then as a means to hold onto memories. Comparisons to Anne Frank are natural, but the difference is that Renia is older, so her insight differs slightly. The writing is mature and insightful. Heartbreaking, but an essential perspective on Holocaust history.
Main photograph: Unsplash